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Lampard lifts Blues

FRANK LAMPARD propelled Chelsea back into the top four of the Premier League -- but admitted he was fortunate not to have been sent off before his last-gasp winner against Wolves at Molineux.

The Blues midfielder celebrated his recall to the starting line-up by turning home Ashley Cole's cross with two minutes remaining to end a run of four games without a win.

But Lampard was honest enough to admit he could have been red-carded for a sliding first-half challenge on Wolves winger Adam Hammill instead of being booked by referee Peter Walton.

The 33-year-old said: "My heart was in my mouth over that challenge. I have to admit that.

"There was no malice, and I honestly mean that, but I was late and I might have been a bit lucky to stay on the pitch.

"I said straight away to Hammill that I was very sorry. I was trying to get my foot in and I was maybe lucky."

Stephen Ward looked to have rescued a point for Wolves after the Chelsea players went to celebrate with manager Andre Villas-Boas after Ramires had put them ahead for the first time.

Villas-Boas said: "I didn't know the celebration was coming. It's just part of their showing of the unity of the team and what the team have been doing.

"I think because of the recent happenings in the home fixtures, where we lost points, it is normal for stories to come out, speculation about untrue things going on.

"It's not good to see, the consistency in the criticism, the invention of the negative critics.

"But what we want to avoid is going back to those negative periods by getting points and avoiding incompetence."

Villas-Boas believes Chelsea can haul themselves back into title contention after seeing some of the leading teams drop points if they can attain a level of consistency.

He said: "This team is focused on getting the consistency in terms of getting the results.

"If we go on a winning streak of five or six games, which we are capable of, we can be fighting for this league.

"What December proved is that the top teams can drop points."

Wolves boss Mick McCarthy was more upset with his team's defending for Lampard's winning goal than in calling for the player to have been dismissed.

He said: "Whether Frank was on the pitch is irrelevant if we had defended properly for his goal.

"I had a proper snarl at the players because that defending was not acceptable.

"It was tough to take. I am livid we conceded a goal in that way. We should have defended the situation.

"We worked hard to turn things around and when you get back to 1-1, you have to make sure you hold onto what you have got."